Mary Pope Osborne, children’s literacy advocate and bestselling author of the “Magic Tree House” series, will kick off the first annual Magic Tree House Reading Buddies Week in New York City on Friday, October 11, at the 92nd Street Y, Random House announced today. The week (October 12–19) is a celebration of reading that pairs younger readers with older, more experienced ones.
“I’m thrilled to kick off the first annual Magic Tree House Reading Buddies Week,” says Osborne, whose has sold 120 million copies of her books around the world over the past 20 years, in the announcement. “Not only does the buddy reading model help support children’s reading efforts, but it also helps them gain self-confidence and a mentor to encourage their reading development.”
Nearly 1,000 schools, libraries, and bookstores nationwide have signed up to watch Friday’s kick-off event, which will be streamed live online, according to Mallory Loehr, vice president and publishing director of the Random House/Golden Books Young Readers Group.
In addition to the talk by Osborne, the event will feature a live performance by the Jack and Annie characters from the “Magic Tree House” series, plus the debut of a new Reading Buddies song. The audience will include students served by the 92nd Street Y’s Educational Outreach program, which reintroduces the arts into the core curriculum of New York City public schools. Children attending the kickoff event will take home a copy of Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark.
Reading Buddies (#readingbuddies) teams across the country can sign up for the program at MagicTreeHouse.com, beginning on Friday, October 11. For the first 5,000 teams that sign up through October 19, Random House Children’s Books will donate one book to Mary Pope Osborne’s Classroom Adventures Program, to be distributed to Title I–eligible schools nationwide through First Book.
Classroom Adventures provides free online resources to elementary school teachers, and is the springboard for Osborne’s Gift of Books program.
The Reading Buddies program features a Reading Buddy Minutes Challenge and an interactive reading log that unlocks digital prizes as kids achieve their reading milestones throughout the year. Kids who sign up during Reading Buddies Week will also unlock an exclusive activity kit.
To support this year’s program, Random House has made an event kit available for schools, libraries, and bookstores, which includes a Reading Buddies bookmark, reproducible activities, and educational material on the benefits of the Reading Buddies model. Activities, reading logs, and more will be available on the Reading Buddies website, accessible through MagicTreeHouse.com.
The newest “Magic Tree House” books, Magic Tree House #50: Hurry Up, Houdini and Magic Tricks from the Tree House, debuted on July 23, 2013, and a full-color edition of the second book in the series, The Knight at Dawn, was released on September 24, 2013.